In a battle between the top two players on the women's tour, world no. 1 Serena Williams defeated world no. 2 Victoria Azarenka 6-4, 6-3 in an exhibtion match at the Madison Square Garden in New York in the second BNP Paribas Showdown of World Tennis Day.
Azarenka had recently beaten Serena in the finals in Doha - only her second win over the American in 13 meetings on tour. But in this exhibtion match, Serena was the better player.
As usual in exhibtion matches, the players managed to have fun and keep the crowd entertained as well. Azarenka and Serena both played a few points with their left hand and Azarenka also handed over her racket to boyfriend and pop star RedFoo who played a few points with Serena.
After the match, Serena commented, "Usually there are exhibitions in places I don't normally play, so it's always fun to go to different places. So this is special - who would turn down the opportunity to play in Madison Square Garden?"
Azarenka commented, "You go to places you don't normally go for tournaments and see how excited people are, and they're getting involved in tennis more and more. So it's a good thing to play here, and to get a match against such a great player is always fun. Like Serena said, to pass up an opportunity to play in such an historic place is impossible. When I heard about it I said, "Yes, yes and yes.'"
Azarenka now heads to Indian Wells for the BNP Paribas Open which Serena will not play due to a long standing boycott of the event. The two will then meet again in Miami where they both are slated to play the Sony Ericssion Open.
How to play from the baseline
The expression “to endure the rally” is about those indeterminate moments of a rally where none of the players is leading.
The ability to endure the rally is fundamental when you play a “long rally”, because it offers you the chance to measure your opponent’s strong points and vulnerabilities, besides letting you position as best as possible for your next offensive shot.